In Grand Forks, we care about the health and future of our young community members, this is why we have a Social Host Ordinance. This ordinance prohibits any person from hosting an even or gathering where they know (or reasonably should know) that underage drinking is taking place.



Social Host Ordinance
Frequently Asked Questions

 What does the social host ordinance prohibit?

The social host ordinance prohibits any person from hosting an event or gathering where (1) alcoholor alcoholic beverages are present and (2) the person hosting the event knows or reasonably should know that a person under the age of 21 will attend and consume or possess alcohol or alcoholic beverages.  The person hosting the event or gathering must undertake reasonable steps to prevent any persons under the age of 21 from possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages at the event or gathering.

Essentially, the Ordinance makes it unlawful to provide an environment or venue where underage drinking takes place when the host knows or reasonably should have known that such activity is occurring or will occur.  The Ordinance is designed to hold individuals responsible for underage drinking that occurs at an event, party or gathering on property that they own, lease or otherwise control.  A social host may be subject to prosecution under the Ordinance regardless of whether the host actually provided the alcohol to the minors.

 

 What reasonable steps can I take if I am hosting an event or gathering?

Insure that minors do not have access to alcohol or possess or consume alcohol or alcoholic beverages at the event or gathering.  Examples of reasonable steps include: among other options, controlling access to the alcoholic beverages; controlling the quantity of alcoholic beverages present; controlling the persons attending the event or gathering; verifying the age of the person attending the gathering by inspecting driver’s license or other government issued identification cards; supervising the activities of persons under the age of 21; contacting law enforcement if necessary. 

 Do I have to be present at the party to be charged with violating the social host ordinance?

No.

 Can a parent be charged with violating the social host ordinance if the parent allows their child and/or their child’s friends to consume alcohol in their home?

Yes.

Can I be charged with violating the social host ordinance if an event or gathering occurs on property I own, rent or otherwise control, if I do not provide the alcohol to the minors?

Yes.

 Are there exceptions for graduation parties, proms or other events or celebrations?

No.

 May I legally provide alcohol to persons under the age of 21?

 No.  There are exceptions, however, for bona fide religious services or the possession of alcohol under the direct supervision of law enforcement or other government officials. 

 Is it legal for a person under the age of 21 to consume or possess alcohol or alcoholic beverages?

No.  Except, however, for bona fide religious services.

May a parent legally provide alcohol to their children under the age of 21?

No.

 What is the medical amnesty provision in the ordinance and how does it work?

If in the course of an event or gathering a person under the age of 21 needs medical assistance due to alcohol consumption, any person (1) making contact with law enforcement or emergency medical services, (2) providing assistance to the individual in need of medical assistance until law enforcement or emergency medical services arrives, and (3) remaining on the scene and cooperating with law enforcement or emergency medical personnel may claim immunity from prosecution.  Also, the individual in need of medical assistance, if under the age of 21 and cooperating with law enforcement or emergency medical personnel, may similarly be immune from prosecution.  The immunity provided by this ordinance is a defense to prosecution under a charge of the social host ordinance and is limited to a maximum of five individuals for any one event or gathering. 

 How does the social host ordinance differ from the loud party ordinance?

The loud party ordinance is enforceable based upon the noise generated by the party or occurrence regardless of whether alcohol is present and regardless of the age of the participants.  The social host ordinance is limited in application to events or gatherings at which persons under the age of 21 are consuming or possessing alcohol, regardless of the noise generated by the activities at the event or gathering. 

 When does the social host ordinance go into effect?

 August 1, 2015

Can a person under the age of 21 be charged with a violation of the social host ordinance?                              

Yes.

 What is the penalty for violating the social host ordinance?

A fine not to exceed $1,500.00 per offense

Is the violation considered a criminal offense?

No.  It is a noncriminal offense.